BUENA VISTA, Va. – A first-half surge by the No. 20 Salisbury University women's basketball team helped the Gulls to their 10th victory of the season in an 83-61 rout of Capital Athletic Conference-opponent Southern Virginia University Saturday afternoon.
Although the Sea Gulls (10-1, 4-0 CAC) started out the game with the opening basket off a layup by senior Anna Hackett, the Knights took the early 14-7 lead in the first five minutes of play, forcing Head Coach Kelly Lewandowski to take her first timeout. Coming out of the 30-second break, Salisbury pieced together its game plan and went on a 42-12 run in the remaining 15 minutes to take a 23-point lead into the break.
Down 14-7 five minutes into the game, junior Julia McLaughlin ignited a 13-0 run after the timeout with a layup at the 15:43 mark. Continuing the run, senior Sarah Seipp got the Gulls back in the lead, a lead they wouldn't surrender the rest of the game, on a breakaway layup following a McLaughlin rebound.
The defense of Salisbury made the biggest impact in the first half, forcing 17 Knight turnovers including 14 steals. With 10:26 left in the half, Salisbury caused three-consecutive turnovers all resulting in quick transition layups on the other end, capped off by a Hackett layup, Knight foul, and finish at the free-throw line for the three-point play and 11-point lead, 29-18. Finishing the other two transition layups were McLaughlin and sophomore Lauren Rothfeld.
Taking a 49-26 lead into halftime, the Sea Gulls shot 47.6 percent from the field (20-of-42), while nine players recorded points. Seipp led all scorers with 13 points through the first half, while Hackett dished out four assists, leaving her just two passes shy of moving up the program's all-time list in the category.
The Knights (2-8, 0-4 CAC) opened the second half on a 5-0 run, but an offensive rebound and a left-corner jumper by senior Melanie Mocniak put the lead back to 20 at the 16:48 mark, 51-31. Southern Virginia would get as close at 15 points in the final 15 minutes of play, but the Gulls got the lead back into the 20-point range off a three-pointer by Hackett and a layup by Seipp, as SU never let the deficit drop under 20 for the remainder of the game.
With 13:31 left on the clock, Seipp hit a jump shot after receiving a pass from Hackett. The assist recorded on the play was the senior's sixth of the game and 418th of her career, moving her into the No. 4 spot in program history. The Germantown, Maryland native jumps alumna Vicki Miller (1987-91) on the list with the six-assist day.
Hackett also concluded the day with a game-high 25 points, leaving her just four points shy of moving into sole possession of the No. 6 spot in all-time scoring in program history, held currently by alumna Kim Fiedler (1983-'87) with 1,456 points.
Seipp and McLaughlin chipped in for 19 and 10 points, respectively, as 11 Gulls scored in the contest. Every player for Salisbury competed in the contest, as freshman Paige Bryce tallied her first two collegiate points. Mocniak pulled down a game-high eight rebounds, six of which were offensive, while Rothfeld recorded a career-high and game-high five steals.
The Gulls conclude their road trip on Wednesday, January 7, at the University of Mary Washington for another CAC clash. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m., at the William M. Anderson Center.